After two popular local open air markets were postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic the couple who organise the events came up with a novel idea of gauging whether to re-open.
Husband and wife team Tom and Angela Parry have run the Strawberry Fields Market and Car Boot and Skirlington Market for decades and had received many enquiries asking when they would be re-opening.
They hit on an idea of running an informal
Opinion Poll amongst their thousands of Facebook followers to gauge a consensus to see if the time was right to re-commence the popular events
Said Tom: “With the opening of garden centres yesterday (Wednesday 13th May) and the confirmation that outdoor shopping is far safer than indoor, we started to think about what we could do at both sites to create a shopping environment that was as safe as possible for our traders and customers.”
The Strawberry Fields event, which is held on a field next to the Lobster Pot pub on Kingsgate in Bridlington, was due to celebrate a milestone 20 years of trading this year, with Skirlington Market, based between Skipsea and Hornsea clocking up an impressive 33 years of business.
“Our traders do of course sell ‘essential goods’ at both sites. Meat, fruit and veg, bakery, pet supplies, household items and tools, to name but a few. So legally it is feasible for us to open.” Said Tom.
He continued: “As a family run business who cares about our community, we wanted to consult our customers and traders, rather than just go ahead and open. The timing needs to be right for everyone. The balance has to be right. We have family members in the vulnerable category, we don’t want to do anything too soon. However, we do also have hundreds of traders which rely on us for their livelihood.”
The poll post was viewed by 7645 at Skirlington and 3975 at Strawberry Fields.
“On line voters didn’t just comment ‘no’, they put their opinions down which then created a debate amongst our followers. One negative response created 10 or so replies and bumped up the count.”
Tom and Angela counted the responses and estimate that at Skirlington it was approx 60/40 % against and at Strawberry Fields 65/35 % against.
“The country does need to take steps towards re-opening at some point. Open Air Markets have been identified as safe compared to shopping indoors. It’s very hard to balance the scales.”
“Also, we have had no help from the government, we are not eligible for any funding or grant at either Strawberry fields or Skirlington.”
The couple also run a coffee unit at Skirlington, which is held every Sunday year-round.
Strawberry Fields is open every Thursday and Bank Holiday from March to October and Tuesdays from June to September – weather permitting.
“We will continue to assess the situation. Look at what other markets are doing (some markets have reopened this week such as Wolverhampton which has opened three city markets We will follow government guidelines, consult with the NMTF (National Market Traders Federation) and yes we may very well take another poll in 2-3 weeks time.” Tom added.
“We really miss our markets and car boot sales. We have so many lovely traders and customers and a real community feel. We hope the time will be right to open before too long. And wish for everyone to keep safe and healthy. “